Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Valentines Day Dessert and Velvet Aroma Love

Happy early Valentines Day! To vote for this recipe go here, and see details below.

Are you the make a reservation in advance and spend a night on the town type? Or are you the type that just orders in and cuddles up for a movie? I'm definitely the latter! Somewhere along the way I became more of a home-cooked meal and dessert lover for special occasions. If you're the same, I would like to introduce you to something exciting....

First, I have been meaning to devote a post to how much I love Velvet Aroma! It is kind of like pin boards meets google reader meets an online cookbook library. And that really just doesn't do it justice. I urge you to try it out (which you can do for free :). I have been trying to organize all of my online ideas and recipes in my google reader for a while. I would "star" something and then forget about it completely. Then Pinterest came along and I thought I would get better organized that way, but every time I got on there I was so overwhelmed that I would somehow find myself, 30 minutes later, looking at a friend of a friend's wedding cake ideas and remember, "oh yeah... I went on here to find a recipe for dinner tonight!".

Now, with Velvet Aroma, I can easily see all of the (many, many) food blogs I read and enjoy. I can also save the recipes into cookbook form all in one place. And when I need some inspiration, I can explore around because they have kind of a search feature for the blogosphere for certain ingredients, diets, meals, and more.

Even though you can use Velvet Aroma as a blog reader and tool around the internet foodie scene for free, I have happily upgraded to their Chef de Cuisine feature and have about 25+ cookbooks saved with over 140 recipes saved from my favorite blogs...and counting! If this makes me sound like a food nerd, I will gladly concede to that label and am proud of it :) (Yes, I realize I sound like a paid advertisement! But know that no one from Velvet Aroma has in any way approached me to say anything about this. I simply enjoy cooking and surfing the internet more with it and thought you should know about it too :)

So, if I have not peaked your interest enough to go and check it out yet, Velvet Aroma is hosting a Valentines Day Giveaway Event for voters and bloggers. And these individual Red Velvet Cakes (with a healthy secret ingredient) are entered in. Hope you enjoy your Valentines Day no matter how you are spending it, but if you want more inspiration for yummy stay-in ideas, visit Velvet Aroma and checkem' out.

And now onto the main feature: a Valentine's Day treat. When I think of the holiday of romance, I think of individual, plated desserts, or mini-things. So I made these personal-pan cakes using ramekins. This was a labor of love from me to you! (and also my husband who will be eating them in 14 days since I will be freezing them until Valentines day for our stay-at-home date :)

They are vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar free (depending on what chocolate you use), and soy-free. And as an added bonus at no extra charge they are high in fiber and anti-oxidants with a secret ingredient: beets. But don't let this scare you, the cake will not taste like a pickled salad ingredient :) And this little super-nutritious ingredient adds a lovely color to the cake!

Individual Red Velvet Cakes with Cream “Cheese” Frosting and Ganache

Yields: 3 two-layer, 3" mini cakes (vegan, gluten/soy/refined sugar free)Ingredients
For the individual red velvet rounds:
  • 220 grams beets (about 2 beets a little smaller than a tennis ball, washed, peeled, then measured), sliced in thin slices
  • 1 oz water (22 g or 2 Tbsp)
  • 12 grams coconut sugar (1 Tbsp)
  • 120 grams gluten-free oat flour (about 1 cup)** see note
  • 35 grams of cocoa powder (a little under 1/2 cup)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder dissolved in 30 grams (2 Tbsp) water (or 35 grams brewed espresso)
  • 90 g grape seed or other light cooking oil (1/3 cup + 2 tsp)
  • 22 grams vanilla (1Tbsp)
  • 100 grams coconut sugar (2/3 cup)

**Note: If you cannot find certified gluten-free oat flour, I grind my gluten-free oats in a Vitamix, but a coffee grinder also works- just grind, sift, and grind some more :)

For the vegan cream "cheese" frosting:
  • 150 grams of cashews (about 1 cup), soaked in purified water for at least 2 hours
  • 60 grams (2 oz or 1/4 cup) lemon juice
  • 30 grams (1 oz or 2 Tbsp) apple cider vinegar
  • 40 grams of coconut sugar (1/4 cup + 1 tsp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 160 grams of the fat from 1 can of a thick can of coconut milk, like Thai Kitchen (about 1 cup)
  • 45 grams coconut oil (1.5 Tbsp), melted
  • optional: 1/4-1/2 tsp pure almond extract
For the chocolate ganache:
  • 100 grams (1 large bar or 3.5 oz) of 70% vegan chocolate
  • 100 grams of coconut milk
  • optional: 1 tsp vanilla or espresso (either will enhance the flavor of the chocolate, you can decide if you want mellowed, sweeter- vanilla, or richer, fragrant- espresso)


For the Red Velvet Rounds:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. And prepare 6- 3" ramekins, (can also use 4- 4" ramekins, or 2- 6" cake rounds) with parchment paper rounds and grease with coconut oil to make them really easy to take out of the pan when cooled.
  • In a small sauce pan, add the beets, water, and coconut sugar to the pot and bring to a boil. Make sure the beets are not thicker than 1/2 " to cut down on cooking time. Then turn heat down to low, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes until fork-tender.
  • While the beets are cooking, sift together the dry ingredients (oat flour- sea salt) in a mixing bowl.
  • Then, in a blender, add the remaining cake ingredients (espresso through coconut sugar). And add the beets to this when ready (they can still be hot, that even helps everything blend better).
  • Stir the wet mixture from the blender together into the dry ingredients with a spatula.
  • Spoon enough batter to fill the ramekins you are using 1/2". (If using 3" ramekins, this would be 75 g).
  • Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

For the Frosting:

  • While the cakes bake, Strain and rinse the cashews with purified water.
  • Then add all ingredients to a high powered blender like a Vitamix (you can also use a food processor for a slightly less smooth frosting :).
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using to assemble your cakes. You can also make it the night before.

For the Ganache:

  • Heat the chocolate and coconut milk in a heat-proof bowl over a simmering small pot of water/ or in a double boiler until fully melted and shiny.
  • Or, for a faster way, you can scald the coconut milk and then pour over the chocolate, finely chopped, in a shallow bowl. Let stand for 3-5 minutes and then stir until glossy.

To Assemble, I have posted the pics below....You can put these together any way you like. I just decided to get fancy with it :) Cake layer, Ganache, Frosting, Cake layer, Frosting, more Ganache....


  • Make sure cakes are completely cooled before taking out of the ramekins.
  • It also helps to throw them in the freezer before and in-between icing layers.
  • Also, a layer of ganache in the middle is a must :)
  • You can also pour the ganache over the whole iced cake and make yourself a chocolate-dipped personal cake, which would be nothing short of awesome...hey, I should have tried that!

Vote for me if you like @ Velvet Aroma

This post has also been linked up to:

Allergy Free Wednesdays (a recently launched allergy friendly blog party with a wide variety of allergen-free food ideas- no matter what allergy- great for mom's like me who have several food allergens in the fam)

Wellness Weekend @ Diet Dessert & Dogs

Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free

Sugar Free Sundays @ Flip Cookbook


  1. Eryn,

    Thank you so much for visiting AFW! Your cake is breathtaking. Absolutely amazing...really. I'm going crazy over your ingredients! I'm just so impressed. Great job. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe with the allergy-free community.

    Have a wonderful week.


  2. Thank you so much, Amber! Excited to see more recipes every Wednesday @ AFW

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your great recipe on Allergy-Free Wednesdays. Your cake blew me away-amazing! Be sure to check back next week for recipe highlights (including the top 3 reader choice submissions and hostess favorites).

    Be Well!

  4. Any sub for the oat flour? We're grain free right now so wondering if almond flour would work?

  5. Heather, while I haven't tried this yet without oat flour- I can offer an educated suggestion: If you do replace with almond flour, I would up the almond flour by 1 1/3- so 160 grams to start. Almond flour is much more moist and does not thicken the way oat flour does when moisture and heat are added. Therefore, I would also experiment with adding a little tapioca or arrowroot starch for a grain-free option. Hope you find something that works- I'm always up for encouraging experimentation with recipes :)

  6. What a stunning cake, perfectly suited to V-Day! I love the combo of the red cake and cream "cheese" frosting! A must-try. And thanks so much for linking up to WW this week! :)

    1. Thank you Ricki! And thank you for hosting- I'm loving the new recipes I've found on Wellness Weekends :)

  7. Love Love Love this recipe. My husband is allergic to chocolate (so sad right?!) so I'm going to give this a go this weekend with carob instead! Will keep you posted!!

    1. ooh that might be tasty- I love carob! Let me know how it goes :)

    2. Omg Eryn.. they are amazing with Carob! I can't believe how I couldn't taste the beets at all and the lemon cashew icing is just so good. So my only subs where the carob for the chocolate and honey for the coconut sugar -- I used the same amounts that you suggested in your recipe. I did have to bake a lot longer than your recipe -- but I think that's because I live up in the mountains so have to deal with baking a little differently than sea level.

      Thanks for sharing.. I still have a bunch of cake left over so this week is going to be such a treat!! :)

    3. Yay, I'm so glad they turned out well with carob! I will have to try that soon as well since I don't feed my younger kiddos chocolate :) Thanks so much for letting me know how they turned out.

  8. love this red velvet cake.. it looks ah-mazing!


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